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Issue 10 is here!

Vanishing tribes of Saudi Arabia, the Land of Oz in North Carolina, lost in Myanmar, botany and romance in Costa Rica, fictional anthropology and much more… read it online now!

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En Route: Lowlands to Highlands by Foot

William, the “old man in the bush” the Tourist Bureau had suggested, was waiting at the beach. William was small, about five feet flat, and somewhere in his sixties. He wore a short-sleeved button down, slacks, and sandals.

William led the foreigner up a rough foot trail that rose steeply into lush rainforest. There was nothing around them but greenness, enlivened by the sound of birds and insects. Splinters of light beat down through the trees and onto the forest floor. The trail was slippery, but William had no trouble, and every now and then he would ask the foreigner a question. Most of his questions involved things he’d heard but not been able to verify. Continue Reading…

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Expats: Martin Luther Queen

Photo by Allan Warren.

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition,” wrote James Baldwin in Giovanni’s Room. Seeking sanctuary from the burdens of life as a queer black man in 1940s Harlem, Baldwin expatriated to Paris where he was able to begin demystifying what it meant to be an American, and where he created the works that would mark him as one of the best – and most critically contested – exile writers of all time. “Exile saved my life,” he reflected 13 years later. Continue Reading…

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In The Field: The Prison Tree

Photo by Leonora Enking.

They arrived at the tree just before nightfall, with a dark honey sky above the scattered red rocks of The Kimberley. In silhouette, the 14 aboriginal prisoners — men and boys accused of unlawful possession of beef — gave the impression of a single long and curving creature, being joined by chains at the neck. They had walked over 250 miles across the outback of Western Australia, in the hottest month of the year.

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Eye of the Beholder: Something Wonderful is about to Happy

Photo by Ko Sasaki.

“A gentleman is one who puts half his weight on elbows.” I know you know what that means. And if Wonton Food, Inc. in Long Island City had its way, you’d be convinced that such wisdom could only be the timeless philosophy of Confucius.

But alas, it’s hard to say exactly who the mastermind is behind the success of the three billion fortune cookies manufactured annually. What I can tell you is that it’s not the Chinese.

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Outlaws: Flying Fingers

Photo by Ari Helminen.

When words fail, he speaks with his hands: more specifically, his fingers.

He is given a sharp-edged tanto, or short-bladed knife, and a small, spotless cloth. The hand rests palm-down on the cloth. He places the knife just above the top knuckle of his left pinky, and in one swift motion, his apology to his oyabun – his boss, his surrogate father – lies in a pool of blood on the table. It is carefully wrapped and presented to the oyabun, who accepts the gangster’s apology, and the missing fingertip, just like the hand-poked and multi-colored tattoos covering nearly every inch of the repentant gangster’s body, becomes another distinctive mark of his membership in the yakuza. Continue Reading…

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Shelter: Bombed Out

Photos from U.S. Government. 

In the spring of 1955, the United States Government dropped a nuclear bomb on a town in the Nevada desert. Survival Town, as it was later dubbed, was populated by sharp-featured mannequin families, a whole tribe of department store-clad Mr. and Mrs. Americas. In houses with fully-stocked pantries and decorated living rooms, the model families were set around dinner tables, beneath windows hung with flowered curtains. Continue Reading…

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You Are Here: Newspaper Man

In Chidtera, on the western edge of the Mercato, the claustrophobic alleyways slowly start to open up. The trampled pulp of cardboard and fruit fiber is replaced by wet grass and the stench of residential sewage. Storefronts slowly morph into school houses and mosques, and the shopping takes on the good-natured banter of a neighbors and friends.

This is Abdulseid’s neighborhood. He was born here, he went to school here, he goes to the mosque here. Now he sells paper here. His brother sells paper, and his sisters sell paper. When he was younger, his parents and uncles sold paper. “My family has a long connection here,” he says, “we have been here a long time.” Continue Reading…

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